Mercedes warned by former F1 champion to fix the “significant set of problems” it has…

 

Two-time F1 world champion Mika Hakkinen believes Mercedes will need to be quicker in solving their problems if they want to catch up with Ferrari and Red Bull.With the championship battle heating up between the two teams at the front, Hakkinen felt the Silver Arrows are at the risk of being left behind. Speaking to RN365 following the 2022 Saudi Arabian GP, he said:

“Mercedes have a significant set of problems to fix if they are to catch up with Red Bull and Ferrari. They need to do it quite quickly because the top two teams are going to be pushing so hard on their own development.

It was very strange to see the cars starting fifth and 16th, with Lewis Hamilton clearly unhappy with the set-up of his car.”

 

Mercedes have had their worst start to a season in 2022 compared to the last ten years. While the German team is currently second in the constructors’ standings with 38 points, those results are somewhat inflated by Red Bull’s double retirement in Bahrain.

Thisis best illustrated by their deficit against Ferrari in P1, which is more than double the number of points they have.

“Porpoising” could finally end Mercedes’ dominance in F1
The W13 seems to be heavily suffering from porpoising – the violent bouncing of the rear end of the car at high speed – forcing the team to surrender a vast chunk of the car’s underfloor downforce to cure some of the bouncing.As a result, the team has struggled to reliably extract good performance from the car. Currently, the W13 seems to be the third-best car on the grid, but only marginally.

 

In both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, the team was under threat from Haas, Alfa Romeo, and Alpine, who all seem to be in close contention for the “best of the rest” position.

For the first time in nearly eight years, Mercedes seem to be genuinely at risk of being toppled, ending their run of an unprecedented eight consecutive constructors’ world titles.

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton’s desire to win that elusive eighth world title in 2022 may have to wait given his team’s limited ability to respond to their on-track troubles. Unlike in 2017 and 2019, when the Silver Arrows were last in trouble, their vast resources and a nearly unlimited budget allowed them to claw their way back into championship contention.

 

Heavyrestrictions on wind tunnel time and the cost cap, however, have taken away much of the German team’s traditional advantages, forcing it to seek other avenues to develop its struggling car.

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